Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I was perusing this article on the Monash University paper on stigma. A comment from someone called Tim Dean a philosopher at the University of New South Wales stood out. Illustrating how out utterly of touch fatphobes with a library ticket can be when they are under the influence;

What surprises me is that obese individuals don't sometimes react to the negative attitudes in such a way that does encourage them to excercise or do something about their weight.

Fat people have of course "reacted" mightily, tough if anyone 'missed' it, we're not doing it again just for them. I doubt this academic airhead absorbed the study or article which amongst other things quoted someone being told they were "lucky" to have miscarried because they wouldn't want to be pregnant at their size.

Instead it merits comparison with wearing clothes;

Social stigma is a potent tool for guiding behaviour to conform with social norms; after all, most of us wear clothes to work not because it'd be illegal not to, but because of the very thought of the embarrasment we'd feel turning up naked.......
So is rationalism, wanna try that first? "Guiding behaviour" neither creates nor delivers desired outcome.

Know what else? People don't tend to 'fail' to wear clothes because clothes fulfil their remit. Clothes can be demonstrated to 'work'-that is fulfil their function.

Seeing a trained mind reducing itself to this must be like watching a clever alcoholic suffer blackouts. The omens for rational discourse are not good. I'm not surprised, intellectual engagement and fat phobia don't mesh. Its this dim because it has to be. The surprise is that training in critical thinking remains untroubled by any of this.

Forget compassion, what about robustness of intellectual integrity?

I mean, what can we expect from those who posit the idea that hurt is a good way to control behaviour, as if that;

a) would have no cost or pathologies of its own


b) it is a worthwhile or moral way of achieving anything?

Those thinking we are on the end of their leash fail to understand we've already complied. We believed the same things we weren't just overpowered. In the past we took it upon ourselves-for various reasons- to do what we were told was right at the time by those who we felt had the authority to do so. It didn't occur that people had anything less than our best interests at heart.

Various psychological techniques are currently being touted as a means to support the bankruptcy of calorie wasting.

In this we are being cast as dead fat suits only brought to life by the attentions of fat /concern haters.

Behaving as if because they pretend not to know we are alive assuming we'll play along, as ever. It is imagined that treating us as things is acceptable behaviour for any ends.

It calls to mind what feminists refer to as sexual "objectification", but I think it goes beyond that. We meet the literal definition given by Martha Nussbaum, I'm linking, but I'm going to copy it here;

* Instrumentality- if the thing is treated as a tool for one's own purposes

* Denial of autonomy-treated as if lacking in agency or self-determination

* Inertness-treated as if lacking in agency (and animus)

* Ownership-treated as if owned by another

* Fungibility- treated as if interchangeable

* Violability- treated as if permissible to damage or destroy

* Denial of subjectivity-treated as if there is not need to show concern for the 'object's' feelings and experiences.

If anyone has the right to discount experience its the person themselves, but even that is different from behaving as if things that happen, didn't. Our thinker continues;
My concern is by taking a defensive stance we risk normalising obesity in the minds of individuals who are obese, lending them a sense of entitlement and undermining the effect of social stigma to change behaviour. We raise a siege mentality that ends up being counter-productive. Guilt, after all, can be a good thing if it changes behaviour towards positive ends.
Concern? Basically healthy self defence spoils the effect of going unguarded in the face of a punitive onslaught. Trying to claim being in the ring with your gloves down, in the face of a beating is the way to change your behaviour as if because that is desired by others, the impact of the blows don't matter nor doest the humiliation of putting up no defence.

How can you be "concerned" that people are trying desperately to fend off blows that might be damaging their psyche?

What, this intellectual non-entity thinks "we" whoever that is has more of a say over your brain than you do?

The right to be acknowledged as you are, no matter where that is or where you want to go is going too far, that's only for the likes of him, isn't it? That's something you can be sure he takes for granted but then its pretty obvious why that shouldn't be in question for one second.

And who's "we"? If fat people are so defensive how do concern haters take for granted that his "we" is so in control of us? If we were defensive this popular illusion would not be present.

Being fat has been "normalized" by the absence of anything to stop it and that was entirely predictable decades ago. When something doesn't work repeatedly and you ignore it, that's another way of accepting your future. Too late to play coquette on that score.

Nor does it seem to occur much to these people that their behaviour towards us might change our attitude to them. Like you know when you act a certain way to someone or thing; another human, a dog, a cat, a worm or even a virus or a bacterium, you can expect a reaction.

If we aren't respected, we may not respect.

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